Top PAYG phone plans compared

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In a world of cheap unlimited monthly phone plans and 24 month contracts that cost a lot, PAYG (pay as you go) plans are still fighting – and some are pretty popular. PAYG phone plans are beneficial because you only pay for what you use. While you’ll usually have to pay an initial set-up fee or recharge your plan with some credit, if you’re a light phone user, or just like flexibility, a PAYG phone plan may be for you. Review the top PAYG phone plans in Australia with Canstar Blue.

What is PAYG?

‘Pay as you go’ (or PAYG) is like how using a mobile phone plan was in the good old days. You usually recharge with a set amount of credit with no obligation to keep recharging, and you only pay for what you use. Some providers even carry long-expiries such as 180 or 365 days so you can last six months or an entire year before worrying about your phone plan again.

While these are obviously good options for a spare phone or a light user, many more customers simply like the flexibility it affords. They’re also good for if you’re going away for a longer period of time, but still want to keep your number. As the term ‘recharging’ suggests, these deals are usually on a prepaid basis, meaning you only pay whenever you want to use your phone and that when credit runs out you aren’t charged excess fees.

The Top PAYG Phone Plans

There are a number of popular Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) that provide PAYG phone plans, with some even offering plans that last a whole year. These providers include:

ALDI Mobile PAYG Plans

ALDI Mobile is a popular choice, consistently rating well in our customer satisfaction ratings for prepay phone plans. ALDI Mobile offers two PAYG plans – $15 or $30. Both last for 365 days, but the beauty lies in the detail:

  • Calls are 12c/minute
  • Texts are 12c each
  • MMS is 35c each
  • Data is 5c/megabyte

These rates are pretty cheap – especially for the calls with no flagfall – and you could theoretically have up to 250 minutes of call time, or 250 texts with the $30 plan. International numbers also start as low as 10c a minute and you can recharge as you like. ALDI SIMs are available in-store, or you can purchase online. You can also recharge your plan through SMS. ALDI Mobile operates on the Telstra 4G Network.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
ALDIMobile Logo

Pay As You Go $15

  • PAYG
  • $5 Upfront Cost inc. $5 credit

min. cost $15 over 365 days

PAYGMax Data**/billing period $15Advertised Data^^/billing period
ALDIMobile Logo

Pay As You Go $30

  • PAYG
  • $5 Upfront Cost inc. $5 credit

min. cost $30 over 365 days

PAYGMax Data**/billing period $30Advertised Data^^/billing period
View all mobile plans listed on Canstar Blue

Amaysim PAYG Plans

Amaysim has also been a top performer in our customer satisfaction ratings, and it offers identical plans across both the postpaid and prepaid payment methods. However, for PAYG you are obviously using a prepaid recharge system. Operating on the Optus 4G Network, Amaysim has one $10 SIM available with a 365 day expiry period where you get $10 credit and you can recharge as you see fit, with rates going pretty cheaply:

  • Calls are 12c/minute
  • Texts are 12c each
  • MMS is 49c each
  • Data is 15.4c per MB

While these call and text rates are comparable to ALDI Mobile, the MMS and data rates are slightly more expensive. These extra rates can add up in the long run, but for a cheap and easy PAYG plan, Amaysim is a compelling option.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Amaysim Logo

Basic As You Go

  • PAYG
  • 15c/min calls, 15c texts, 15.4c/mb

min. cost $10 over 365 days

NAMax Data**/billing period $10Advertised Data^^/billing period
View all mobile plans listed on Canstar Blue

Vodafone PAYG Plans

Vodafone has a range of long expiry phone plans, which are a bit of a change of pace from the other big providers in Optus and Telstra. Plans are priced from $10 and recharges last 365 days. The rates are:

  • 20c/minute calls
  • 20c texts
  • 2c/MB data
  • International rates from 3c/minute

As you can see, the data rates are very cheap compared to a lot of other providers, so if you need to use a bit of data, Vodafone may be worth a look into.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Vodafone Logo

Prepaid 365 Plus $30

  • PAYG
  • 20c/min calls, 20c texts, 2c/mb

min. cost $30 over 365 days

PAYGMax Data**/billing period $30Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Vodafone Logo

Prepaid 365 Plus $40

    • PAYG

20c/min calls, 20c texts, 2c/mb

min. cost $40 over 365 days

PAYGMax Data**/billing period $40Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Vodafone Logo

Prepaid 365 Plus $50

  • PAYG
  • 20c/min calls, 20c texts, 2c/mb

min. cost $50 over 365 days

PAYGMax Data**/billing period $50Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
View all mobile plans listed on Canstar Blue

Optus PAYG Plans

Optus offers a fairly concise range of PAYG long expiry plans, some with expiries from 45 days, and as high as 365 days. Prices range from $10 to $60. Rates for long expiry plans are:

  • 20c/minute calls
  • 20c texts
  • 5c/MB data

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Optus Logo

My Prepaid Long Expiry $40

  • PAYG
  • 20c per min/20c text/5c per mb

min. cost $40 over 186 days

N/AMax Data**/billing period $40Advertised Data^^/billing period
Optus Logo

My Prepaid Long Expiry $50

  • PAYG
  • 20c per min/20c text/5c per mb

min. cost $50 over 186 days

N/AMax Data**/billing period $50Advertised Data^^/billing period
Optus Logo

My Prepaid Long Expiry $60

  • PAYG
  • 20c per min/20c text/5c per mb

min. cost $60 over 365 days

N/AMax Data**/billing period $60Advertised Data^^/billing period
View all mobile plans listed on Canstar Blue

Telstra PAYG Plans

Telstra offers a few fairly exciting PAYG options in its ‘Long Life Plus’ range. They feature simple flat rates for calls and texts, and have expiries that range from 45 to 180 days with credit rollover if you recharge before expiry. The rates are:

  • 30c/minute calls
  • 30c texts
  • 50c MMS
  • 10c/MB data

As you can see, data is an expensive commodity, so if you’re wanting to PAYG, you might want to switch mobile data off unless in emergencies. Nevertheless, if you’re after the “network without equal” with supreme coverage – say for a holiday in the Tasmanian wilderness or some such – Telstra may be worth a look into.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Telstra Logo

Long Life Plus $20

  • Data 10c per MB

min. cost $20 over 45 days

N/AMax Data**/billing period $20Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Long Life Plus $30

  • Data 10c per MB

min. cost $30 over 186 days

N/AMax Data**/billing period $30Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Long Life Plus $50

  • Data 10c per MB

min. cost $50 over 186 days

N/AMax Data**/billing period $50Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Long Life Plus $70

  • Data 10c per MB

min. cost $70 over 365 days

N/AMax Data**/billing period $70Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Long Life Plus $100

  • Data 10c per MB

min. cost $100 over 365 days

N/AMax Data**/billing period $100Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
View all mobile plans listed on Canstar Blue

Is a PAYG phone plan worth it?

PAYG phone plans benefit from being low-maintenance, low in cost, and long in recharge times. Many come with cheap call and text rates too. However, if you’re even more than a very occasional mobile phone user, you may struggle to see value in a PAYG plan, especially when $20 or so can diminish pretty quickly. This is also especially when unlimited phone plans with 1GB of data are as little as $15 a month these days, so heavier phone users may like to look elsewhere. Adding insult to injury is the fact that some service providers charge $2 or more per megabyte of data used, so even casually browsing email or Google can become an expensive affair.

PAYG is good for spare phones, those wanting a low-maintenance phone plan, those heading abroad for a while and wanting to keep their number, or for elderly people. The large majority of people out there who depend on their mobile phone day to day may be able to find better value elsewhere.

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